Just days after a confidence boosting and eyebrow raising 6-0 win over Honduras, the United States will have to prove whether the first World Cup qualifier under Bruce Arena as a fluke or a statement.
The USMNT will face Panama in qualifying for the first time since the US eliminated Panama from the 2014 World Cup with two late goals back in 2013. The win would’ve kept Los Caneleros in the playoff spot by finishing fourth on a tiebreaker with Mexico. Instead, El Tri moved on to the playoff and defeated New Zealand on aggregate to reach Brazil 2014.
Based on earlier results in CONCACAF today, a 1-1 draw between Honduras and Costa along with a 1-0 Mexico win over Trinidad and Tobago, the USA can move up to third in The Hex standings with a win tonight.
Bruce Arena will make a few changes to his lineup with the injured Sebastian Lletget and John Brooks both sent home early after the Honduras match. Geoff Cameron also picked up an injury in the last match and was scratched for tonight’s game.
Tim Ream gets the start after being subbed on for Brooks against Honduras while Jones is the likely replacement in the midfield for the injured Lletget. Graham Zusi at right back is fine with the fullback injuries piling up and it’s nice to see Jorge Villafana get a second straight start at left back. The attacking group seems largely unchanged though it’s possible Arena might shift to a 4-2-3-1 formation rather than the 4-4-2 diamond US fans saw on Friday night.
As always with road qualifiers, finding this one on TV tends to be difficult. If you don’t have BeIN you’re probably looking for one of the Spanish language stations.
How to Watch
Kickoff Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Location: Estadio Rommel Fernandez; Panama City, Panama
Available TV: beIN Sports, Telemundo, NBC Universo
Join us in the comments below with your thoughts on the lineup and commentary throughout the match.